THE Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is expecting to unveil its holiday packages for European travellers within the next three months.
To achieve this goal, MATTA is currently working with 46 delegates of European Travel Agents and Tour Operators Associations (ECTAA).
MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said Malaysia has been identified by ECTAA as the “Preferred Destination of the Year” for 2018, in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed between Tourism Malaysia and the associations signed last year in Berlin, Germany, which is aimed at boosting tourist arrivals from European countries to Malaysia.
“We will offer various holiday packages to suit their requirements, as they have different expectations when selecting their holiday destinations,” said Tan, adding that Malaysia has been selected as the meeting venue of the ongoing ECTAA’s 117th semi-annual meeting 2018, which ends today.
“We are also looking at how to optimise our offering to meet the needs of European travellers, ranging from nature and wildlife, beautiful beaches, delicious food, fascinating history and culture, and exciting adventures,” he added.
MATTA has also been persistently engaging overseas travel agents to draw up travel packages and create awareness of local destinations.
The main European outbound markets to Malaysia are, among others, Britain, Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden and Italy.
“MATTA is optimistic the ECTAA’s visit to Malaysia will help to re-generate the interest of European visitors and push domestic tourism promotions more efficiently and effectively to the European countries to attract 36 million tourists and RM168bil in tourist receipts by 2020, in line with the Visit Malaysia Year then.
“MATTA’s membership with ECTAA since 2017 is significant to the industry as it will allow promotion of domestic tourism to over 27 European countries, through over 70,000 travel agencies across Europe, targeting more than 700 million consumers in Europe,” said Tan.
Besides that, MATTA will also be attending trade shows and participating in sales missions, inviting travel agencies from abroad to attract European travellers to the country.
Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab said the ECTAA’s meeting was expected to boost Malaysia’s branding and presence in Europe ahead of the Visit Malaysia 2020 initiative.
“Last year’s tourism performance saw Malaysia welcoming 25.9 million tourists to Malaysia, which brought in an income of RM82.2bil.
“Of this figure, 1.1 million tourist arrivals were from Europe,” he said, adding that they were targeting 1.5 million tourists from Europe this year.
“For 2018, Tourism Malaysia hopes to welcome 33.1 million tourists from all over the world and record RM134bil in tourism receipts,” said Mirza.
Other marketing and promotion initiatives to strengthen arrivals from the Europe market include the “Official ITB Partner Country” at Germany’s largest tourism industry gathering, the establishment of a Frankfurt-Kuala Lumpur winter route by Condor Airlines and the establishment of a cruise programme with a potential of 7,200 European tourists to Malaysia over the winter holidays.
ECTAA president Merika Hallik said the European travel agents’ meeting would enable delegates to get an upgraded view of Malaysia from different perspectives and launch suitable holiday campaigns.
A group from the ECTAA delegates will also be travelling to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Langkawi for post-conference tours.